St. Albert is a city in Alberta, Canada, on the Sturgeon River northwest of the City of Edmonton. It was originally settled as a Métis community, and is now the second-largest city in the Edmonton Capital Region. St. Albert first received its town status in 1904 and was reached by the Canadian Northern Railway in 1906.
Originally separated from Edmonton by several miles of farmland, the 1980s expansion of Edmonton’s city limits placed St. Albert immediately adjacent to the larger city on St. Albert’s south and east sides.
St. Albert was founded in 1861 as a Métis settlement by Father Albert Lacombe, OMI, who built a small chapel: the Father Lacombe Chapel in the Sturgeon River valley. This chapel still stands to this day on Mission Hill in St. Albert. The original settlement was named Saint Albert by Bishop Alexandre-Antonin Taché, OMI after Lacombe’s name saint; Saint Albert of Louvain. Although Lacombe had originally intended to found the mission at Lac Ste. Anne, the soil proved infertile and he moved the settlement to what would become St. Albert. The location offered several advantages, notably its easy access to supplies of wood and water, its excellent soil, it being a regular stopping point for First Nations peoples on their travels, and its proximity to Fort Edmonton, where the priests could purchase necessary supplies and minister to Catholic workers. A few years later, a group of Grey Nuns would follow Lacombe from Lac Ste. Anne. More Métis from Lac Ste. Anne arrived in 1863 and by December 1864, the population was roughly 300. In 1870, smallpox had spread north to St. Albert, killing 320 of 900 residents